Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz and fifth seed Daniil Medvedev took time to get going before reaching the Wimbledon third round but eighth seed Casper Ruud felt the gloom on a damp Wednesday after being knocked out.

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz celebrates winning against Australia’s Aleksander Vukic during their men’s singles second round tennis match on the third day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships.(AFP)

Alcaraz came close to dropping the opening set of his contest against Australian Aleksandar Vukic but the third seed sprang to life to secure a 7-6(5) 6-2 6-2 win and said he was rediscovering the form that led him to the 2023 title.

“I’m feeling similar… Obviously, I’m getting better and better. Hopefully, if I keep winning, I’m going to find the same level as the final last year,” said Alcaraz, who downed Novak Djokovic in five sets to lift the title.

“I’m feeling that I’m playing great tennis. Physically, I’m feeling great. Hopefully I’ll keep going.”

Medvedev looked out of sorts early on Centre Court and was pushed hard by the 102-ranked Alexandre Muller before prevailing 6-7(3) 7-6(4) 6-4 7-5.

Second seed Coco Gauff was also not at her best under the roof on Court One but reined in the errors to get past Romanian qualifier Anca Todoni 6-2 6-1.

The American said she needed to win more cleanly despite only dropping six games in two matches.

“I do think I can be too critical… I think it’s just like moments, maybe I missed some shots that I normally would make,” said Gauff, who plays Briton Sonay Kartal next.

“That’s tennis, you’re always going to miss some shots that you normally would make. I’m trying to focus on straight sets and winning cleaner.”

Wild card Emma Raducanu showed her the way with a 6-1 6-2 win over Elise Mertens but it was the end of the road for fellow former U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka who was beaten 6-4 6-1 by American 19th seed Emma Navarro.

Rain delayed the start of play on the outer courts for a little over two hours in the morning and Ruud became an early victim when the action resumed as the three-times Grand Slam runner-up fell 6-4 7-5 6-7(1) 6-3 to Italian Fabio Fognini.

“I’m disappointed that I lost but I know my abilities on this surface and I’m trying to be realistic,” said Ruud, whose best results have come on claycourts and hardcourts.

“I just find it difficult. I find it fun as a challenge and I try my best every year. I haven’t given up on it yet but it’s really difficult for me somehow, the movement and feeling confident out there.”

Two more Italians will be in action later as world number one Jannik Sinner takes on Matteo Berrettini in a tantalising Centre Court showdown.